NeverScrub Self-Cleaning Toilet System


Autonomous attachment tidies bowls

NeverScrub, formerly the Puricle 110, automatically dispenses a bleach-type cleaning agent into the overflow tube of a toilet at the conclusion of a flush. It is far more efficient and effective than the old “hockey puck” style of toilet bowl cleaner. It prevents all sorts of stains, mineral deposits, etc., and leaves the toilet bowl crystal clear (refills last about four months, depending on usage rate). It installs without tools in about 90 seconds (or 30 seconds if you’ve done it before). You just clip the unit to the inside of the tank and swap out the hose that feeds into the overflow tube for the hose attached to the unit.

The typical “hockey puck” cleaner dispenses a variable amount of cleaner (depending on how long it’s been steeping) mostly into the bottom of the bowl, during the emptying phase of the flush cycle, which is wasteful and ineffective. This system releases the right amount of cleaning agent at the right place and time — i.e. it dispenses a consistent, “measured dose” under the rim, during the refill phase (mostly), so it remains in and on the bowl, including above the waterline. It’s amazing no inventor took advantage of this approach decades ago.

(The percentages that follow are guesstimates). When a toilet is flushed, water enters the bowl from two sources: the tank (about 80%) and water fed into the overflow tube through a small hose (about 20%). Once the tank has emptied, the tank’s outlet valve closes and water flows into the bowl only from the refill tube (via the overflow pipe), slowly refilling it.

Consequently, less than 20% of the water that was in the tank remains in the bowl after a flush, so 80% of any hockey-puck cleaning agent absorbed by the tank-water is wasted. But over 80% of the water that enters the bowl through the refill tube remains in the bowl, so only a little of the cleaning agent dispensed in this manner “goes down the drain.” Also, with the NeverScrub, the cleaning agent remains on the bowl’s surface above the water line, because the last water to enter the bowl is treated water. With a hockey-puck cleaner, the last water to enter the bowl is untreated water from the refill tube, which rinses away the cleaning agent that entered under the rim during the initial phase of the flush.

Finally, with the NeverScrub, there is also a beneficial social side effect that is even more important than cleanliness: it can greatly reduce water consumption. I’ve found that toilets needn’t be flushed after doing “number 1″ because the product’s cleaning agent bleaches and deodorizes it. (When this stops happening, add a refill cartridge.)

The agent is a deodorized form of bleach that employs bromine as well as chlorine: 1, 3-Dichoro-5,5-dimethylhydantoin. According to the company, the refills have an unlimited shelf life and the cleaning agent “breaks down and is harmless to septic systems and environment.” Additionally, they claim that “Bowl water [is] not harmful to children or pets.” They thoughtfully add, “However, it is not recommended that pets regularly drink water from the toilet.”

A few things you should know: It’s best to get the surface clean and smooth before installing the unit. I suggest scrubbing the bowl clean with a Pumie stick. You should also be aware that there was a badly mixed batch of refills shipped out a year ago. I bought them, and when I put in the first one, the product stopped working. I contacted the manufacturer and was told that the cartridges had been reformulated to correct this flaw. I exchanged the ineffective batch and the new ones are working perfectly. Third, “Never” Scrub isn’t 100% accurate; “Very Rarely” is more like it. Lastly, if you order from the manufacturer the shipping cost for the gadget (it comes with a cartridge included) is $7.61 (to Seattle). That’s 69% of the cost of the item itself, which seems excessive. I recommend diluting the shipping cost by placing a larger order. For instance, if ordering six refill cartridges at the same time as the basic unit, the postal charge sinks to only 25% ($9.42) of the cost of the goods.

-- Roger Knights 05/24/07